Chandigarh: BJP on Monday postponed its January 22 rally by party chief Amit Shah in view of announcement of Delhi assembly election dates, drawing sharp reaction from Congress which said the party has "cancelled its rally and ran away".
"Our party chief's Amritsar programme on January 22 has been postponed as he and other leaders will remain preoccupied with Delhi elections which were announced today," Punjab BJP Chief Kamal Sharma said adding that there is no other reason for postponement.
Congress Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha Capt Amarinder Singh said that "even though the BJP has cancelled its rally and ran away", his party's rally at Amritsar will be held as scheduled on January 22.
"Once bitten twice shy," the Amritsar MP and former chief minister said in a statement here, while maintaining that "having bitten the dust in the parliamentary elections in Amritsar (in 2014), the BJP has clearly opted to be wiser this time by walking out of the contest (postponing its event)".
Singh had defeated senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley from Amritsar in Lok Sabha polls last year.
Reiterating that the Congress rally will be held as scheduled, Singh said there was no question of cancelling or postponing it.
"Because the issues for which we are holding the rally still remain there as we are confronting the Akali-BJP government for its failure to curb the problem of drugs and for patronising the drug peddlers," he said, adding that the Amritsar rally will be the first in a series of rallies to be organised state-wide in the coming months.
When asked to comment on Amarinder's remark that the "BJP has cancelled its rally and ran away", Kamal Sharma said, "We were not into any contest with him (Amarinder/Cong) from which we have run away..."
Sharma said that even BJP ministers, MLAs and other office bearers from Punjab will remain preoccupied with the Delhi polls, which will be held on February 7.
Singh had yesterday announced that a campaign would be launched from Amritsar on January 22 to take on the ruling Akali-BJP alliance in the state, including on the drug issue.
The saffron party's ally and coalition partner in Punjab, Shiromani Akali Dal, had recently held dharnas at three venues close to the International Border on the drug issue.